Date of Conferral

2016

Degree

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)

School

Education

Advisor

Wendy Edson

Abstract

Peer-mentoring experiences in higher education have been largely effective largely effective, however institutions implement them differently. The focus of this program evaluation was a peer-mentoring program at a medical school in the southeastern region of the United States, which had not previously been evaluated. Guided by Kolb's experiential learning theory, the purpose of the evaluation in this study was to examine whether the peer-mentoring experience was perceived as helpful to new students and how students thought the program could be improved. The sequential mixed-method design consisted of a survey of 179 students and interviews of 8 students. A thematic analysis of qualitative data was completed using a constant comparative approach. The qualitative data revealed that students perceived the program as having had a positive effect on their confidence in succeeding in school. They felt more committed to completing school, were more likely to use resources, and reported that peer-mentoring positively affected their learning. The findings also provided recommendations for program refinement related to the selection process, increased opportunities for individual mentoring, systematic documentation for study strategies, and additional group activities. These recommendations were included in the evaluation report. Evaluation results have important implications for positive social change at the local college of medicine that include peer support to ensure retention, facilitated discussion on coping strategies and sources of support, and academic success for students.